E-Signature Bill Signed

July 5, 2000

“And all of you young people will someday look back on this day … and marvel that it was considered a big deal.” So said President Bill Clinton to a group of business and computer science students who watched him electronically sign the e-Signature bill into law last week.

On Friday, Clinton penned the eagerly awaited legislation both by hand and by computer. It is expected as he said, to “give fresh momentum to what is already the longest economic expansion in history.”

The law will give online contracts the same legal force as paper contracts. It will take effect Oct. 1, though companies began March 1 retaining electronic records such as mortgages and financial securities. While it was the first bill to ever be signed into law electronically, it was not the first time Clinton has provided an electronic signature while serving as president. In 1998, he and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern used “smart cards” to electronically sign an electronic-commerce agreement.

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